200-game Chelsea defender: Mourinho right to sell Mata to United

Frank Leboeuf has stated that the west London club was correct to allow the Spanish playmaker to move to Old Trafford.

Although Chelsea sit on top of the Premier League after a 3-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday, many Blues’ fans were sad to see Juan Mata leave the club in the January transfer window.

The Spanish playmaker found first-team opportunities difficult to come by under Jose Mourinho, with Eden Hazard dominating under the Portuguese coach.

Mata became Manchester United’s record signing after his switch to Old Trafford, with Mourinho’s decision to allow the ex-Valencia man to leave dividing the fans.

However, former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf has stated that Mourinho was right to sell Mata and that the Spaniard does not suit English football.

"I've never been a big fan of Juan Mata. I think he's a fantastic player (but) I think he doesn't suit English football,” the retired centre-half told The Sunday Express.

"I guess Chelsea tried to find the new (Gianfranco) Zola. But Zola was much more powerful than Mata, and Mata is a little bit light.

"I think Mourinho realised that and that is why he bought Willian, because he has a little bit of Zola, not as big as Zola but strong, skilful and works really hard for the team and can defend."

While Hazard continues his impressive form on the pitch, Mata will not be overly missed by Chelsea fans – but there is no doubt over the quality of the diminutive playmaker.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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